Cherie Priest's Boneshaker crosses a few different genres, falling into the classification of Steampunk. Steampunk is the combining of scientific and historical. In the literary world, Steampunk offers readers science-fiction and alternative history combined with classic yet altered character (as seen with the rotters, which are zombies).
The story follows Briar and Ezekiel (Zeke) Wilkes, a mother and son, through their travels in trying to survive a destroyed Seattle, Washington. Briar's husband, Leviticus Blue (or Levi Blue) is accused with destroying the city with his creation of the Boneshaker. Created to drill through ice, the machine, instead, destroys Seattle.
Through analysis, while filled with gruesome characters (the rotters) and a rather simplistic storyline, the text offers readers a true narrative of love and perseverance. Through the hidden truths and half-lies, Zeke sets out to prove the history of his father is false.
The dialogue offers readers a true understanding of the relationship between Briar and her son. The setting of the novel mirrors a civil war environment in which those who have survived must overcome trials and tribulations to insure continued survival. While some of the characters are certainly imaginative (the rotters), the inclusion illustrates the concerns of a world facing utter destruction. The main characters, on the other hand, show realistic characteristics of a mother-son relationship (undying love and protection).
Realistically, the novel offers readers a true look at a struggling area. It provides both realistic challenges (wanting the truth, mercenaries, and poverty) and a peppering of characteristics which uphold the science-fiction genre.